Chicken fried steak at The Mason Jar.
Shameful confession: This is my first visit to Mason Jar, open since ... ahem, 1982. I’ve passed by it countless times, presuming it was touristy comfort food. The “where the locals eat!” banner on its website suggests otherwise, and it turns out to be kick-ass comfort food. Whereas many heavy diners read more kitsch than cozy, here the busy decor charms. We’re told the staff has been here forever, and what items we try also attest to — well, the test of time. The chicken fried steak ($14.99, includes two sides) reads true, a crunchy breading nicely seasoned and perfectly salty, with a thick, lightly peppery gravy also appearing over mashed potatoes with ideal (real) texture. Add sautéed mushrooms ($1.99) for a heightened treat. Split pea soup’s satisfyingly hearty and red onion rings are great dipped in tangy tartar sauce with our cornmeal catfish ($12.39/”lighter portion”). Down-home and damn good; glad I finally stopped in.